PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sporting Alert – Marshall Plumlee scored a career-high 23 points, and Duke rallied from a very slow start to beat UNC Wilmington 93-85 in the NCAA Basketball Tournament first round on Thursday. Box Score
Plumlee, who went 9-of-10 from the floor, also grabbed eight rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late in the second half for the Blue Devils, who shot over 68 percent in the second half while improving on the defensive side during the half as well.
The outgoing senior played without the mask guarding his broken nose, which he used during the ACC Tournament.
Grayson Allen also scored 23 points to go with 10 rebounds and five assists while Brandon Ingram added 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field to go with nine rebounds and two blocks in the victory for Duke, which is seeded fourth in the WEST Region.
It was the first time Duke had three players scoring at least 20 points in the same game in NCAA Tournament since 1990.
Matt Jones finished with 12 points and five boards before fouling out of the game as well.
Craig Ponder led the 13th seeded UNC Wilmington with 22 points, four rebounds and four assists while Chris Flemmings added 18 points and Denzel Ingram ended with 17 in the defeat for the Seahawks (25-8), who led 43-40 at half time.
C.J. Bryce had 16 points and eight rebounds for UNC Wilmington, which shot 44.1 percent from the floor overall and 42.3 percent from 3-point range.
Duke struggled from long-range on the day, but shot 64 percent from in front of the 3-point range, which played a huge part in setting up the win.
Meanwhile, 15 of Allen’s 23 total points on the day came from the free throw line as the team leading scorer was just 4-of-12 from the floor in the shoot.
The defending champions will now take on the winner of the matchup below Baylor and Yale in the second round on Saturday.